Aug 23, 2013

Gigli in Gotham? The Ben Affleck/Batman decision, and why everyone needs to chill out.

Ben Affleck has just been announced as the new Batman, who is set to debut in the sequel to this summer's MAN OF STEEL.

Needless to say, the internet has exploded. Forums and comments sections far and wide are brimming over with heated debate over whether this is the right move.


 In the other corner you have the hyperbole spouting Affleck cheerleaders who are already predicting that Affleck will win an Oscar as Bats, and that the choice is the biggest superhero casting coup since Christopher Reeve.

And, in the middle of the ring, you have my people - the "wait and sees". We're the ones who have seen so many surprisingly good role/actor combos over the years that we remain cautiously optimistic about Batfleck.

Why are we so calm about such a casting news bomb being dropped on the geek community. Well, we remember when Michael Keaton was announced, and how everyone was in a tizzy about Mr. Mom wearing the cowl. Then we think about how well that worked out, and how Keaton owned that role and became an entire generations One True Batman.

The first thing I thought about when the nerdrage started flowing was a more recent casting choice that had everyone all panicked. In August 2006, Heath Ledger was announced as Joker, and the fans were pissed. There were Brokeback Joker jokes aplenty, and most of the geek world seemed pretty upset. However, that, too, wound up being one of the greatest screen roles of the 21st century. The debate still persists over whether it would be as fondly looked upon had Ledger not suddenly died shortly before release, but I like to think it would.

Sure, Affleck seems like an odd choice to those of us that can't wipe the GIGLI and J-Lo days from our mind. And, yeah, the dude did totally stink IN Daredevil, but I don't think he truly stank AS Daredevil. And, sure, he did take a lot of "paycheck" roles for a few years (PAYCHECK, for example), but, in the last few years he has really remade himself into a serious artist. His film, ARGO, was sensational, and he was really good in it (and was totally robbed of the Director Oscar Nom).

So, I say, let's all see how it plays out. I think he could be really good in the role. I loved Bale as much as the next guy, and I never really had as much of an issue with "The Bat Voice" as some, but I look forward to seeing the torch pass to someone new in the cowl.

What I'm not so thrilled about are the "Vs." titles that are being thrown around as possibilities. Way too AvP for my tastes.

Jun 4, 2013


  Welcome to the first ever edition of WTFlix, in which I discuss those movies that leave you staring at your TV screen is disbelief that what you're viewing was actually made. Sometimes, weird films are flat out masterpieces. Other times, the sheer whatthefuckery of the proceedings make up for major flaws that would otherwise make the film unbearable. Then, of course, are the films that are just weird in all the wrong ways with nothing to redeem it.

  I intend to cover all three types here, but today's selection is a real joy to discover. It's 2001's sci fi musical THE AMERICAN ASTRONAUT:


"What Style!

  What Class!

The Girl With the Vagina Made of Glass." 


Space, this movie tells us, is a lonely town. It's a solar system full of manual labor camps, dive bars, and very few women. Except, of course, on Venus, an entire planet populated by the fairer sex.

The women there, while fully capable of reproducing on their own, prefer to have a breeding stallion. The only problem is that their most recent mate has died, leaving a void that only another highborn male can fill. There's a suitable replacement on Jupiter, but getting him want be easy.

Enter Samuel Curtis, played by writer/director Cory McAbee. Curtis is kind of like Han Solo, if Han Solo was in a universe straight out of the old Flash Gordon serials. He's a man who knows how to get things from point A to point B in the vastness of space.

When we first meet him, he has just landed on an Asteroid with a cat in tow. His destination is a local saloon on the asteroid that caters to space traders and working men. There, he is to trade the cat with the bar owner. The fact that it's the night of a big dance contest is just icing on the cake.

In the bar we meet Eddie the bespectacled barkeep, The Blueberry Pirate (who gives Curtis his mission to Venus), and the film's antagonist, Professor Hess. It's also in the bar where we get the first musical number, "Hey Boy", performed by two guys who couldn't look less like featured players in a musical. There's a unique stand up routine performed by Tom Aldredge, and the previously mentioned dance contest. Both are great at establishing what life is like for these lonely men who ply their trade in the stars.

Through all of this, McAbee creates a vision of space travel unlike anything you've ever seen. Shot on black and white 35mm, the film looks a product of another time. Shadows are used to great effect, and any budgetary restraints the film had are well hidden in the film's spacenoir production design. The costumes are pitch perfect, seeming very real within the film.

The music, which could be the downfall of a film like this, is a rare blend of catchy and strange. It's all performed by The Billy Nayer Show, a band that McAbee fronts. This isn't the first time they've blended music and visuals. There are a series of shorts where they hone their craft. Incidentally, those are also available on DVD and well worth a look. Here, the band's unique sound draws you into this world, and the songs are amazing, which I was very surprised by on my first viewing. My favorite would have to be "A", which is sung by The Boy Who Actually Saw A Woman's Breast.

Speaking of TBWASAWB- his whole character is a very interesting concept. On Jupiter, a mining planet, he is treated as royalty for an experience he once had where he saw a woman's breast. He tells this story to the workers often, boosting morale. His outfit is probably the most outlandish of the costumes in the film, but it works to show how different he is from the rest of his coverall sporting planet mates.

There's a lot to love about THE AMERICAN ASTRONAUT. From the atmospheric painted special effects shots to the perfect casting, this is a movie that will stick with you. It's the kind of movie that you want to make your friends watch so that they can pass it on themselves.

McAbee has made a followup of sorts called Stingray Sam that I have not seen yet. If it's anywhere near this one, you can expect a WTFlix on that as well.

THE AMERICAN ASTRONAUT is available on DVD, and is on Netflix streaming (6/4/13).

Have you seen THE AMERICAN ASTRONAUT? Did you like it? If not, why?
Leave a comment below. I love to discuss film and get differing opinion.

Apr 1, 2013

It's About Damn Time: I finally saw THE OMEGA MAN.

    In general, I'm not huge on horror. Be it film or literature, it's a genre that has never really appealed to me. Maybe it's because so many horror films are schlocky low budget affairs with unlikable teens being chased by some slasher, or maybe it's just an extension of being easily frightened as a child.
    There are exceptions, of course. I love Kubrick's version of THE SHINING, Darabont's take on THE MIST, Landis' AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, and Branagh's much maligned MARY SHELLEY'S FRANKENSTEIN. I've also enjoyed the occasional zombie flick, especially 28 DAYS LATER. In the book world I have enjoyed the small amount of Stephen King novels I've read, and I did go through a ghost story phase in middle school - mostly Bruce Coville and the horror stories of Roald Dahl.                            
     One book that blew me away and took a spot near the top of my favorite books list was Richard Matheson's brilliant mash-up of postapocalytia and vampires, I AM LEGEND. To me, the book was an almost perfect blend of horror and science fiction. It told a bleak tale of being the last man on Earth in a world overrun with bloodthirsty vampires. It explained the science of vampirism in a believable way, which I loved.
     The book has been adapted to film three times so far, all to varying degrees of success.
     THE LAST MAN ON EARTH featured Vincent Price in the lead role and had Matheson himself writing the screenplay (under a pseudonym). The movie followed the book pretty closely, but is ultimately hampered somewhat by the budget and the era it was filmed in. Of course, I've only ever seen it on a cheap public domain print, so that may have something to do with that sentiment. Note: there is a way better print available these days, so I'm sure I'll give it another go soon.
     2007's I AM LEGEND saw Will Smith step into the Robert Neville role. While parts of it were quite good, and it got the title right, I was ultimately disappointed. The CGI "monsters" looked like video game characters and the ending was all kinds of botched. Gone, too, were any allusions to the infected being vampires.
      Which brings me to the middle film in this trilogy of adaptations, 1971's THE OMEGA MAN. This time, Charlton Heston is the last man, and the infected are more mutant than vampire. I don't know why it took me so long to see this particular version of a story I hold so high in regard. Maybe it was because I was miffed that the vampire angle was thrown out, or maybe I was put off by too many humans on the cover - indicating that the 'last man' angle was thrown out, too. I know I wasn't put off by Heston, being a huge fan of PLANET OF THE APES and enjoying SOYLENT GREEN, not to mention several of his less sci fi fare. Whatever the reason, it took me way too long to view this flick, until I finally gave in one day and purchased a copy on DVD from Big Lots for three bucks.
     The movie starts off a lot like the other two versions, with Robert Neville driving through a deserted city - this time Los Angeles. The effect is pretty well pulled off, with only a few things in the background betraying the sense of solitude. At one point, he sees movement in the windows of an apartment building and fires his machine gun up at the shadowy figure. Everything about his demeanor is pretty badass.
     This is what he does with his days - scavenging for supplies and killing the infected mutants whenever he comes across them. He also likes to go to a local theater and watch WOODSTOCK.  At night he holes up in his old apartment, which he has converted to a fortress of sorts, to read books and play chess with a mannequin - anything to drown out the noise of the mutants outside.  Through flashbacks, we learn that the cause of all this trouble was biological warfare between China and the Soviet Union. This differs from the book, where a bacterial plague just inevitably breaks out. Neville is immune to the infection because he injected himself with a vaccine right before everything went to hell.
     The mutants are never all that menacing, but are made interesting nonetheless. They call themselves "The Family" and behave like a cult. Anthony Zerbe plays their leader, a former news anchor named Matthias. The Family has thrown off the old ways of technology and like to use fire to erase the past. Needless to say, Heston is a thorn in their collective side. Every time he kills their members, they grow stronger in their resolve to eradicate him.
     One day, while scavenging in a department store, Neville sees a living human woman pretending to be a mannequin. This is Lisa, played by Rosalind Cash and looking like a castaway from the blaxploitation films of the era. She runs from Neville, and he gives chase, losing her in the park and writing the whole thing off as him going crazy.
     Eventually, The Family catches Neville, putting him on trial and sentencing him to death. Before he can be executed, however, he is rescued by Lisa and her colleague Dutch. Turns out, there is a conclave of young survivors that are infected but they haven't turned yet. Fortunately, Neville can use his blood to try and cure it before they lose any more of their members.
    At this point, the movie has already swung way off the course set by the novel. In the book, Neville is truly the last man on Earth, but in this (and Will Smith's outing) he is the last hope for a whole bunch of other people. This never sits right with me, but even though I have problems with it, it does lead to some interesting things- including Neville and Lisa bedding down together after some awkward seduction.
    The kiss they share is one of the first instances of an interracial kiss in movies. Back when it came out, this was very controversial. After you get past the weirdness of old man Heston putting the moves on Lisa, they actually have pretty decent chemistry.
    All this happiness is short lived however, as The Family pushes everything to a head when the kill Lisa's formerly infected little brother. This leads to a final showdown that keeps some of the novel's bleakness, but still gives in to a hopeful ending.
     Overall, I enjoyed this film more than I thought I would. I never thought it dragged, and none of the cheesiness was ever unbearable. My favorite bits were when Heston was in solitude, talking to himself and making little quips to invisible people. I do wish the mutants were more menacing, instead of mostly ineffective baddies. I also would have liked to see more nods to Neville's past life. The other two films manage to show his life before the plague in a way that makes you sadder for how everything turned out. In here, you don't get a lot of insight into Neville's past outside of what his occupation was.
     Still, the movie is very enjoyable and deserves its spot in the sci fi hall of fame.


Mar 15, 2013

Instant Gratification: George C. Scott as Sherlock Holmes (Kinda) in THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS

I'm a big fan of video subscription services. Even though I prefer to own physical copies of my favorite films, services like Netflix Instant, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime give me the opportunity to see films that I hadn't previously seen or that aren't readily available on disc - all for one low monthly price.

Today's film is one of those hard to get titles (being way out of print for several years) - 1971's Sherlock Holmes tale, THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS.

George C. Scott (They Might Be Giants-1971)

I found it while digging around on Netflix, jumping at the chance to see a film that had been suggested to me several times over the last decade. It also fit in nicely with my current Sherlock obsession (thanks, in large part, to BBC's modern take on the character with Benedict Cumberbatch).

Now, to call this a Sherlock tale is a bit of a cheat - kind of like calling THE RULING CLASS a film about Jesus. The reason is that while the amazing George C. Scott does don the famous deerstalker and hunt for Moriarty, he is not really the famous London detective. Rather, he is a man who believes he is.

In reality he is Justin Playfair, a millionaire lawyer and activist judge who went a little mad when his wife died. He is looked after by his brother, who really wants to get his hands on Justin's money to pay off some menacing blackmailers. To that end, he tries to get Justin committed with the help of Joanne Woodward as psychiatrist Mildred Watson (yep).

After a hilarious encounter at the asylum (in which Justin shows that his deductive reasoning is definitely on par with Holmes') she insists on visiting with him at his home. Initially, Justin is resistant to being studied by this infernal woman, but after learning her surname he opens up and brings her into his world - and what a world it is.

Justin/Sherlock is constantly hunting down his nemesis, Moriarty, and sees evidence of the fiend everywhere. Every news story of unsolved crime or tragic accidents points to Moriarty hiding in the shadows, pulling devious strings to bring such things about. Justin finds clues as to Moriarty's whereabouts in seemingly random places, each one leading him to the next in a frantic game of cat and mouse that only he is aware of.
Dr. Watson initially plays the part of a reluctant Sancho Panza type, but as the pair crisscross the city, she warms up to Justin's charms and starts to buy in to his quest more and more.

All the while, Justin's brother's blackmailers are hunting down Justin, wishing to separate him from his fortune and his life. Whenever they cross paths, however, Justin dispatches them with a definite Sherlockian flair.
There is a lot of humor to be found in these scenes of Scott and Woodward hunting down the phantom criminal professor. In particular, I enjoyed a visit to some telephone operators and a visit with a horticulturally minded hermit couple. My favorite bit, though, has to be a visit to the theater, where other eccentrics seemingly congregate (and where F. Murray Abraham is an usher). There's a bit where Justin explains why he only watches westerns that gives great insight into his character's motivations. He enjoys the black and white nature of justice served in the films.

It all culminates in some wild happenings in a grocery store, followed by an enigmatic conclusion that will either piss off the viewer or endear them further to this gem of a film.

All of the actor's turn in top notch performances, especially Scott, who is just mesmerizing as the delusional Justin. Several of the secondary characters are recognizable from other films and television. Al Lewis (Grampa Munster) has a small role as a messenger, and Golden Girl Rue McClanahan plays Justin's sister-in-law. Of special note is Jack Gilford, whom I remember mostly from COCOON, as an old friend of Justin's. His character gives a lot of insight into Justin's past and how much he already had in common with Sherlock.

The movie is ably directed by Anthony Harvey, but the real behind the scenes star is James Goldman, who wrote the screenplay based on his play. The script is full of excellently quotable lines and ensures that none of the principle characters feel two dimensional. The stage roots show through in some of the staging, but never to the detriment of the picture.

The score is also of note, having been composed by John Barry of James Bond fame. None of the themes are as catchy as some of those Bond tunes, but it is a pleasing score nonetheless.

For those of you wondering about the title, it is a reference to Don Quixote's battles with windmills, and, yes, it did inspire the name of the quirky band behind "Birdhouse in Your Soul".

All in all, I was very taken with this film. I found it funny and touching in a way that only the best "take a chance" movies are. Kudos to Netflix for making this treasure available to those if us who would rather not spend a small fortune to obtain one of the rare copies floating around out there. If you like explorations of mental illness, or are a fan of Arthur Conan Doyle's famous detective, give this flick a shot.

If only Netflix could put up WITHOUT A CLUE (another out of print Holmes flick with Michael Caine in the role), I would be a happy camper.

What's your favorite take on Sherlock Holmes?

Oct 31, 2012

Blu Ray and DVD Geek Picks for the week of October 31, 2012 -

Ahoy, fellow movie hoarders,

I meant to have this up yesterday, but was totally sideswiped by all the Star Wars news. Can you believe we'll be getting more of those? I can only hope someone awesome like Brad Bird gets to direct, but we shall see.

Anyway, onto my picks for what discs you should be putting on your shelf this week...

Will Ferrell may make my lady roll her eyes, but he's still one of the funniest comedians being shoved down our throats. In this, he teams up with Zach Galifinakis to turn a satirical eye on politics. I'm not a fan of politics in general, but I do like funny movies. I haven't seen this yet, so I'm sure it will be more of a rental, but it looks like it contains a good chunk of chuckles.


Just in time for Halloween, Roman Ploanski's masterpiece of devilish breeding comes to Blu Ray. This movie creeped me out when I was young - especially the weird Satan worshiping neighbors.


I haven't had a chance to see this yet, but I like Aubrey Plaza and time travel films, so this may be right up my alley.


The master of suspense hits Blu Ray in a big way with this set. It contains 14 of his best movies:


The set is definitely pricey, but it has so much good stuff. I especially want to get my hands on pristine copies of PSYCHO and NORTH BY NORTHWEST. There are few of these that I've never had the chance to see, but this looks like a good opportunity to educate myself.


To date, these cartoons still represent my favorite incarnation of the man of steel. They're just so damn classic! My favorite is probably THE MECHANICAL MONSTERS, due to the extremely retro robot villains. A lot of what we consider to be Superman came from these toons, including the ability to fly.

This set is a tad expensive, but if you didn't get the SUPERMAN Blu Ray megaset, this might be a good way to grab these near perfect toons in HD.

'til next week....

Oct 24, 2012

Blu Ray and DVD Geek Picks for October 23, 2012 - Vampires,Replicants,Monsters, The End of the World, Tattoo, Kubrick, and a BigFriendlyGiant

Hello, film geeks,

As is often the case since I was blessed with fatherhood, I never got the chance to see most of these movies in a theater. That's ok, though, because we live in a wondrous film economy where you can own films for less than a trip for two to the local cineplex. Plus, you don't have to deal with obnoxious phone obsessed teens and lackluster presentation by subpar staff.

Don't get me wrong. I still think a big screen is the way to see most films, but, unfortunately, I live in Midland, TX where the local screens are rarely worth the high cost and trouble securing supervision for my rugrats. So, until I live somewhere like Austin and can watch films at The Alamo Drafthouse (where they really care about presentation and audience control), I will be watching most things after they hit Blu Ray and DVD.

So, with all that in mind, I present the films I'm most looking forward to getting my hands on this week.


I've heard mixed reviews on this one, but I'm really hoping it pleases the part of my brain that loves WTF cinema. I love almost everything that producer Tim Burton does (even PLANET OF THE APES - sue me) and I liked the director's film of WANTED, so I'm fairly confident I will enjoy this. I mean, c'mon - Honest Abe fighting creatures of the night- that's gotta be worth watching, right?


It took me a long time to see this film. For years, all my sci fi geek friends would suggest it to me, but I just never got around to it until I was well into my twenties. I saw the director's cut, and was blown away. I know some people decry this cut, preferring the theatrical, but without any bias going into it, I thought that the cut I saw was spectacular. Somehow, I have still never seen one of the other cuts, but that will be changing very soon with the release of this set.

I know that it was released a few years ago, but I was a minimum wage slave back then, and could not afford to get the briefcase set. Good thing I waited, though, because this set has some all new special features along with every possible cut of the film. I'm really looking forward to showing this to the ladylove as I think she'll really enjoy the film noir aspect of it. This is an essential set for any film geek, and I think I will be watching it for years to come. I can't wait until my sons are old enough to start dipping their little toes into loftier sci fi waters.

This is a film to be, not only watched, but deciphered. I'm sure I will have a "Which Version" post up in a few weeks, so stay tuned...


I have a confession. It's a shocking one, and may result in a loss of film geek cred.

I have never seen a single Universal Classic Monster flick. Not a one. The desire has always been there, but I just never got around to it.

Hopefully, all that will change with this treasure chest of classic monster movies. Frankenstein, The Phantom, Dracula, The Invisible Man, The Creature, and The Wolfman all get a spot. In particular, I can't wait to see Whale's Frankenstein films. I've always had a soft spot for that poor, misunderstood behemoth.


I love post apocalyptic movies and end of the world tales. I also like comedies with indie sensibilities. Therefore, I really think I'll enjoy this film with Steve Carrell facing the end of life as we know it, and wanting a little companionship when the time comes. I get a real LAST NIGHT vibe off of this, but done bigger than that little watched film from Don McKellar.


Smiles everyone!

This show is pure 70's cheese, and we love it around here. After getting Amberly into the first season sometime last year, we have both watched the available episodes many times. For years, it seemed that the powers that be were never going to let anything but the first season make it to disc.

Fortunately, Shout factory has started to remedy that. The second season was released just a few months ago, and now a third box is out, full of more amazing fantasy vacations with Mr. Rourke and Tattoo.

I don't know what it is about this show that draws me to it. Maybe it's the swagger of Montalban, or the crazy fantasies cooked up by the greatest guest stars the late seventies had to offer, or maybe it's the gorgeously lush tropical setting - Whatever it is, I will be picking up every season as they become available.


I'm a huge Kubrick fan, so I'm very happy to see that his (in)famous first film is finally getting to see the light of day. For years, I thought I would never get to see this war fable, but Kino has restored it and given it over to us Kubrick obsessives to see for ourselves if it deserves the derision heaped on it by Kubrick himself.


I'm a huge Roald Dahl fan. He was the first author that I felt the need to devour every word they wrote. One of my favorites was The BFG, a story about a girl who meets a Big Friendly Giant who puts dreams in kid's heads. That's why I'm very excited to finally see this animated version from 1989. There's just something so magical about Dahl's stories, and I really hope this film captures just a bit of that wonder.

Well, that's my picks for this week. I have a huge backlog of Blu Under Ten entries to do, so look for those in the next few days.

Until next time,

Oct 19, 2012

Blu Ray and DVD Geek Picks for the third week of October - KhakiScouts, Na'vi, A Dragon, and Looney Tunes!

Hey, fellow film collectors,

I'm running late this week since I just had a new baby boy. Hence, no weekend Geek Picks last week and very little film blogging goodness in general. But, in an effort to get back on track, here's this last Tuesday's disc selections. By next week, I hope to have this column linked to Amazon to aid in purchasing (and to help support the blog with small commissions). This week, though, it's still just my picks for must own titles with quick rundowns. So, without further ado:

Top Pick:

At this point in his career, you either love Wes Anderson or you hate Jim. Either way, it's hard to deny he has a style that is all his own. His latest offering is MOONRISE KINGDOM- the tale of two young lovers from the island community of New Penzance, who run off together into the wilderness. It stars Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Ed Norton, Tilda Swinton, and many more. I loved this movie, and was very upset that I had to wait so long to see it. Midland, Texas is not kind to films like this, and it was impossible to find in a theater.

I absolutely loved this when I was a kid. I'm pretty sure Elliot was one of my imaginary friends. As an adult, I find Jim Dale to be a major highlight. I just adore his voice after listening to the Harry Potter audio books. I'm pretty much guaranteed to have "Candle on the Water" stuck in my head for days after viewing this. 

I really liked AVATAR, but I never bought a copy because I wanted to future proof myself with a 3D copy. For some reason, the movie that made 3D a major thing in cinema decided to make the 3D home video version only available as a promotion if you bought the right TV. Now, they have remedied that, and /I can finally watch this flick again. Now, if they'd only release a 3D version of CORALINE into stores...

Lots of great toons on this collection, but the real highlight for me is the bunch of Tex Avery MGM toons. Those have been hard to get for years. If you like LOONEY TUNES and Tex Avery, this is a must own.

Alright, that's my late rundown for this week. Sorry for being so brief. Hopefully, next week will be back in better shape.

Oct 8, 2012

Blu Ray and DVD Geek Picks for the second week of October: Aliens, Engineers, The Beatles, Cruiseliners, Killer Plants, and Mouse Detectives,

Greeting, fellow movie collectors. This week is a pretty big one, so let's get right into it...


When I was a kid, this movie made me want to have an alien friend all my own. I love everything about this flick, and it never fails to bring a tear to my eye. When Drew Barrymore breaks into tears when E.T. is dying - damn, that gets me. Now my inner child can cry happy tears over this new high definition presentation of Steven Spielberg's masterpiece.

I really liked this film. A lot of the problems that others had just didn't effect me that much. Sure, some of the characters do stupid things, but, y'know what? People do stupid things. I also had no problem with the lack of Xenomorphs for most of the film. I wasn't expecting ALIEN 5, and I was pleased with the deep, philosophical kind of sci fi that Ridley Scott delivered. Expect an "In Defense of..." article soon.

The Beatles made a few wonderful masterpieces in the world of film. This...well, this is not necessarily one of them. However, I have always had a soft spot for this trippy offering from the Fab Four. The songs are great, and the weirdness is really something to behold. This movie has needed an official release for years now, since the only way to get it on DVD was to pay too much for a near bootleg quality release.


This may seem like a weird one to get all excited about, but 14 year old me loved the hell out of this movie about a cruiseship turned upside down. The remake, POSEIDON, was ok, but it never touched the greatness of the Gene Hackman original. The TV miniseries with Steve Guttenberg is a whole other debacle. This is the real deal, folks, and it's finally on Blu Ray.

One of the greatest modern musical ever made is finally on Blu Ray with the option to watch the original "downer" ending. There was a time when I knew every word to every song in this movie, and I'm looking forward to revisiting it in HD. I'll probably pick the theatrical ending more often than the director's cut one, but I still think it's super cool to be able to see those original scenes, fully restored and put back into the movie.

I have  a bit of a Sherlock fascination these days. What with BBC's wonderful SHERLOCK series, and my recent viewing of THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS, as well as the fun Robert Downey, Jr. films - well, I'm really into Doyle's famous detective. I'm even reading the original stories currently. My first exposure to that world, however, was this wonderful Disney film. I remember going to see this with my grandma when I was a wee one and being terrified of the bat. Now, when I watch it, it's all about Vincent Price voicing Professor Ratigan. Pure childhood Glee.

Oct 7, 2012

Six reasons 'SKYFALL' may be the best James Bond film in years

   I'm a James Bond fanatic. I make no secret of this fact, but feel I should throw it out there to show you where I'm coming from. I've read the books, played the games, and have seen each film a dozen times. Why, just this week I threw down a tidy sum to buy the complete series for a third time, and am currently devouring each title in glorious HD.

   All of this, of course, is in preparation for Daniel Craig's third outing as Bond, SKYFALL, which hits the US November 9th.

   Now, anytime a new adventure of my favorite gentleman spy gears up to hit the screen, I am more than optimistic that it will blow my socks off. Sometimes I have been right in my positive outlook, and other times I was met with a film that , while it pleased my inner Bond fan, didn't really take the fifty year old series to the dazzling new heights I had hoped for.
   SKYFALL, though, is already looking to be an epic milestone in the history of the series. Don't believe me? Well, check out this trailer and tell me it doesn't look amazing:

   I am trying to temper my excitement in case it fails to meet my hopes for another highpoint for 007, but it's hard not to think we might be looking at one of the best James Bond films in years. Especially when you consider the following:

1. Sam Mendes is one of the best directors to ever tackle the series.

   When news broke that the director behind AMERICAN BEAUTY and ROAD TO PERDITION would be at the helm for the next Bond film, my heart did cartwheels. The Bond series is known for many things - cars, gadgets, exotic locales, beautiful women- but it's not really known for it's directors.

   Sure, Bond fans have a soft spot for people like Terence Young and Guy Hamilton, but most general audiences never know or care who's in the chair for the series. Sam Mendes, on the other hand, is more of a household name - having won the Best Director Oscar for AMERICAN BEAUTY.
   The characters in Mendes' films always feel very real, and that bodes well for his foray into the world of Bond. In a series that has often fallen into cartoon territory, his innate sense for making characters grounded in reality can only be a plus.

   On top of that, he's already gotten one of the best performances out of Daniel Craig in ROAD TO PERDITION, and he brings with him a new composer to the series. Which brings me to...

2. Thomas Newman is doing the score.

   If there is one name associated with the music of James Bond, it's John Barry. Barry composed scores for eleven Bond films in total, setting the tone for how the world of 007 should sound - brassy with an undercurrent of intrigue. He also came up with the theme tune that pops into your head every time you think of Fleming's superspy (no matter what Monty Norman says). Sure, other composers have had their crack at the series, but most of them followed Barry's lead.

   After Eric Serra's unique score for GOLDENEYE failed to impress the producers (although I loved it), they turned to David Arnold to hold the wand, and he has held it now for five films. Although his score for TOMORROW NEVER DIES was a superb throwback to the days of old, prompting both EON and Barry himself to declare Arnold the heir apparent, I feel like he has been a little lazy with the the last few films. It's definitely time for a changing of the guard, and Thomas Newman should be able to fill Arnold's shoes wonderfully.

   Newman has chops, what with ten Academy Award nominations (with no wins, unfortunately) and five Grammy wins under his belt. He has worked with Sam Mendes before (his AMERICAN BEAUTY score was sublime) as well as scoring films like SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, THE GREEN MILE, WALL-E , FINDING NEMO, and SCENT OF A WOMAN. One of my personal favorites of his is the haunting score to FRIED GREEN TOMATOES.

   Music has always been a big part of the James Bond series, and it's time for someone new to breathe new life into the scores. If I can't have Michael Giacchino, then I am more than happy with Newman. His considerable talent may be just the new blood the series has been looking for,

   Speaking of new blood...

3. Ralph Fiennes may be the new M.

   Ever since Ralph Fiennes was announced as being in SKYFALL, rumors have run rampant about the exact nature of his character. At first, everyone was talking about how he may be the new Blofeld, but as more came out about the film, we learned that he would be on the other side of the law. His character is described simply as a government agent, and trailers show him working hand in hand with Judi Dench's M. 

   We know that a big part of the plot involves secrets from M's past, and that something she did has put the whole agency in danger. In the word's of Silva - "Mommy's been very bad". So, is it possible that Ralph Fiennes is going to be her replacement?

   It would make sense. Dench has had the role since GOLDENEYE, and she was the only major player to continue on past the reboot. It feels right that she may be forced to hand the baton over to someone new - someone to take on the M position for the future entries in the rebooted Bond world. If this is the case, it will be very interesting, as we've never seen the transition before. 

   And, they could do a lot worse than Fiennes. He has the same proper air of authority that Bernard Lee had when he held the role for all those years. He has the chops to be both the rule of order that backs up 007, as well as being someone that Bond pushes against when he feels that M is off base. There's also the added element of Bond's loyalty to Dench's M, and how he might have to adjust to a changing of the guard. Kind of how he was back when Dench first took over the position. 

4. Javier Bardem as Silva.

   My major complaint with QUANTUM OF SOLACE was that the villain wasn't all that menacing, really. It seems that producers felt the same way, and they are trying to rectify that situation with the casting of Javier Bardem as the mysterious Silva. Bardem can definitely be menacing - just look at his turn in NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN.

   Bond villains are a rare breed. They are bad guys, sure, but they are never just petty thugs. They are classy individuals who strut around with confidence. The best ones are also terrifyingly dismissive of human life, and I think that Bardem has the talent to pull all this off.

    The big complaint so far is his hair. Sure, it looks a bit like Stuart Smalley, but he had the world's stupidest haircut in NO COUNTRY, and it only seemed to make him scarier. I'm sure that by the time we all see it, we will forget about his hair, and just be rooting for Bond to put an end to his evil - whatever that may be.

5. Freedom from the last two films' story arc.

   With the first two Craig outings, the series did something it had never really done before - a multifilm story arc. How crazy was it to see Mr. White in the trunk of Bond's car at the beginning of QUANTUM, seemingly hours after the confrontation at the end of CASINO ROYALE?

   While I thought it was cool that the films led directly into each other, it is kind of nice to know that SKYFALL is free to do it's own thing. Vesper has been avenged, and Bond has learned some of the valuable lessons that made him the agent we all fell in love with in the old series.  This film can have a beginning, a middle, and an end - a complete adventure all in one package.

6. Q is back!

   Some of my favorite moments in the original series were the scenes with Desmond Llewellyn as Q, MI6's gadget man. They were always funny, and the relationship between Q and Bond grew into something wonderful over the years. When Llewellyn died, John Cleese took over the role for DIE ANOTHER DAY, and that was the last we saw of the venerable quartermaster.

   Now, Q is back - albeit in a much younger form.

   Whereas the first two Craig films downplayed his reliance on gadgets, SKYFALL seems to want a return to some of that technical wizardry. Ben Whishaw has been cast as Q, and he looks to be a Q for the modern age. It makes sense that Q would be younger now, considering how fast technology moves these days. It would also appear from the trailers that Bond is a bit resistant to this newest member of the team. Here's hoping that Q's gadgets will pull his ass out of the fire enough that 007 come around.

As more comes out about SKYFALL, I can only hope my optimism is rewarded. Bond has been off of screens for far too long, and I look forward to seeing him in action again. Novemebr 9th can't get here soon enough.

Oct 3, 2012

'LOOPER' Leaves Me Wanting More From Rian Johnson

I saw LOOPER over the weekend, and let me tell ya - it was one of the most solid films I've seen all year. It's the kind of movie that makes me wish the Academy had more love for genre flicks. What writer/director Rian Johnson has accomplished is nothing short of amazing.

Now, will it play this well for everyone? Probably not. Inevitably, there will be those that feel it should have been more of the action flick the trailers promised, that it is slower paced than they had hoped. There will be others who have a problem with the concept as a whole, never buying into the need to send people back in time to be killed. Others, still, will declare it a ripoff of some other flick (TERMINATOR seems to be the goto in this case) and spew hatred on all of us who sing its praises.

That last group can be ignored, in my opinion, as they seem to be nothing more than the contrarian trolls that haunt movie blog comment sections. As for the others, I guess this was never going to be their kind of film in the first place. As for me, I find very little to hate about LOOPER. It's the kind of smart, original sci fi that I have been clamoring for. Rian Johnson has proven himself an able director before with BRICK and THE BROTHERS BLOOM, but with LOOPER, he has made himself a director to watch for years to come. I can honestly say that I will be buying a ticket for his next film, and I have no idea what that might be.

I'm gonna try to be pretty spoiler free in my review, but, rest assured, I will be writing more on this film in the future- after most people have gotten a chance to see this monumental picture.

At the center of this film is Joseph Gordon Levitt as Joe. His is a hard life, full of drugs, whores, and a whole lot of killing people. He's a Looper, a specialized assassin that kills people sent to him from the future. Loopers are paid well, with their biggest payday coming when they make their last hit - their future selves. Bruce Willis plays Old Joe, a more mature version of his younger self, who upsets the balance of things when he manages to escape his execution at the hands of Young Joe.

Sound confusing? Well, it isn't. One of the things that makes this one of the best time travel films I've ever seen (and I've seen A LOT) is how neatly everything is handled. A lot of the usual questions about the nature of travelling through time pop up, and all of them are handled very well without having to slog through tons of exposition. This may be one of the best movies on the subject in that regard. As much as I love BACK TO THE FUTURE, there are tons of plot holes big enough to fly a DeLorean through in those films. This one - not so much.

Both actors do some of their best work here, especially Levitt. Through the use of makeup, the filmmakers really make him look like a believable younger version of Willis. The real winning element on this front, though, is in the mannerisms and vocal characteristics Levitt adopts. You can see Bruce's signature facial ticks in Levitt throughout the film, and, as an actor myself, it really impressed me.

Willis is in top form, too. His Joe is not only older, but wiser in some ways. His motivations are different, and at first glance, he seems to be a lot less selfish than his younger self. He didn't just escape execution to save himself, he's got a mission of his own. Willis shows more range in this than he does in some of his other movies. His scenes of breakdown are really moving, and they make you feel for a character that's still not a very nice guy.

Also of note is Jeff Daniels as Abe, a man from the future that oversees Looper operations. His character is pretty funny, but the lighthearted demeanor is a front for the truly scary person that lies underneath the surface. He's the guy who pulled Joe off the streets and gave him a purpose. He seems to legitimately care for Joe, but he is definitely not someone to fuck with.

Make no mistake, this is not a pretty world. It's one in which people are shot down in the street, and vagrancy is a huge issue. One of the film's best qualities is in how real this dystopian future feels. This is due to both an excellent production design and a script that never over explains what led to these troubles. The audience just accepts that the world is this way in 2044 and moves with the flow.

Not that it's all gritty urban environments. Some of the film's best moments take place in more quaint surroundings. There's an excellent scene between the two Joes that takes place in a throwback diner, and a large portion of the movie takes place on a country farm.

Which brings me to one of the last things I want to touch on before I wrap it up.

The farm stuff is great. This is the part of the movie that will make or break it for some people. Those hoping for a nonstop balls to the wall action flick may hate the slowed down pace, but I, for one, was captivated by these quieter scenes. Lord knows the trailer never indicated that this would be a movie with contemplative character building taking place far away from the bustling futuristic city.

Emily Blunt is wonderful as the mother of an odd child, and her outlook on things is a wonderful contrast to Joe's way of doing things. The kid is also crazy good. He is a child with an old soul, and at no point did I cringe at any of his dialogue. He is no Jake Lloyd. It's through interactions with these two that Young Joe becomes a way more sympathetic character, and  not in the cliched ways you'd think.

I would love to say more about the farm stuff, but I would hate to spoil what, for me, was the big surprise of the film. Suffice it to say that the farm stuff was a brave choice by Rian Johnson, and Blunt and her son are a huge bright spot in this film..

Overall, I would rank LOOPER as my favorite film of 2012 so far. My ladylove, who is nowhere near the sci fi nerd I am, said after viewing it that she really wanted to see it again and that it was definitely her favorite time travel flick. I just might have to agree.

Oct 1, 2012

Blu Ray and DVD Geek Picks for the First week of October

Ahoy, fellow movie collectors! Will here, with a quick rundown of a few titles available to buy tomorrow on Blu Ray and DVD.


I'm a huge Tim Burton fan. Even when he misses his target, I usually find enough stuff to make his movies worth the price of admission. I never saw the original soap on which this is based, but from what I hear, that might be a good thing, as the more somber tone of the cult show is replaced by a more comedic take on the material.

Johnny Depp teams up with Burton, once again, in the role of Barnabas Collins. Collins is a vampire from the olden days resurrected in the '70's. The trailers make this look like quite a silly film, but I will be seeing it nonetheless.


I've seen a trailer for this, and it seemed intriguing. It is about a woman who claims to be from the future and the cult she builds around herself. I'm a big fan of small, grounded science fiction movies, so I'm looking forward to finally giving this one a spin.


Nazis on the moon!

If that short sentence doesn't intrigue you, then this weird flick is probably not going to be your cup of tea. I haven't seen it yet, but the trailers remind me of SKY CAPTAIN, and I'm one of the few who really liked that film. I dunno, something about this seems like a weird old serial or something. Definitely looking forward to seeing if it lives up to the movie my brain concocted when I heard the premise.


This was one of my favorites growing up. Of course, I was pretty much into anything Disney had a hand in as a child. Sure, some of the other boys my age had no use for any of the princess centric Disney films, but I think it's a crime to just write this off as a movie for little girls.

Everything about this movie is classic Disney greatness. To this day, I still get the songs stuck in my head.


I saw this once when I was very little. As a boy in the '80's, I was well versed in my He-Man cartoons, which is probably why this live action baffled the ever loving shit out of me. It was extremely weird, and Frank Langella's take on Skeletor sticks out in my muddy memory as a plus. Maybe in revisiting it on Blu Ray, I can clear up those fuzzy memories a bit.

Well, that's it for this week. Next week is a big one. See you then.

Sep 28, 2012

Weekend Flix Picks : Time Travel, Monsters, and One Really Deep Hole

   It's that time again. The weekend is here, and with it comes new movies in your local cineplex. I know what I'm seeing (LOOPER), but you may want more options. So, for your consideration, I present the following:


   I've been looking forward to this ever since I heard of it. I first became aware of director Rian Johnson back when BRICK came out. I still haven't seen all of that film for some reason, but I have watched the hell out of THE BROTHERS BLOOM, his con man film starring Mark Ruffalo and Adrien Brody. This time around, he turns his lens onto the subject of time travel and from the looks of it, he has made a movie that people will be talking about for years to come.

   In it, Joseph Gordon Levitt plays a hit man who executes people sent back to him from the future. Bruce Willis plays his future self that gets sent back in time to be executed by his younger self. All doesn't go well, however, and Willis runs - which is a big no-no.

  One of the big things about this film that has drawn attention is the crazy makeup that Levitt dons to look like a younger Willis. Some have even said that it looks too distracting, but I think that when people see the film they will soon forget how distracted they are and just enjoy what promises to be a hell of a thrill ride. If Rian Johnson's writing is as top notch as in his previous efforts, I have no doubt that LOOPER will be fantastic. 


   Back in the 80's there were a ton of films that promised horror movie tropes softened down a bit for younger filmgoers. One of the big ones for me was GREMLINS, directed by Joe Dante. Dante went further with that rarely tapped genre with his weird TV show EERIE, INDIANA, and his 90's film SMALL SOLDIERS. Now, Dante has directed a film that features a couple of brothers discovering a hole in their basement that leads straight to hell.

   THE HOLE came out a while back overseas, but, for some reason, it's taken a while to make it to domestic theaters. The trailer looks genuinely creepy in places, and I, for one, welcome a new flick from one of my childhood's favorite filmmakers.


   My third choice this week is another movie for the little ones, HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA. I ignored this film entirely until a few days ago when I found out it was directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, the man behind DEXTER'S LABORATORY, SAMURAI JACK, and the 2D CLONE WARS that came ou tbetween episodes 2 and 3 in the STAR WARS prequel trilogy.

   The film features a bunch of big name voices, with Adam Sandler as Dracula and Kevin James as Frankenstein - among others. This may be just another CG kidfest, but it might be a good way to introduce your own little geeks to those classic monsters of old. Hell, maybe they'll want to watch that new UNIVERSAL MONSTERS Blu Ray set with you when that hits October 2nd.

   Well, that's all for this week. Have fun at the movies!

Sep 26, 2012

Blu Under Ten: Joseph Gordon Levitt ties the knot in 'HOLY MATRIMONY'

   This weekend, one of the films I've been looking forward to all year, LOOPER, hits cinemas. In honor of Joseph Gordon Levitt, who plays a younger version of Bruce Willis through the magic of makeup and vocal impersonation, I thought it would be fun to look back at one of Levitt's earliest film roles in a movie that can be had on Blu Ray for just five bucks on Amazon.

   HOLY MATRIMONY came out all the way back in 1994, and then quickly fell out of the public consciousness. Not because it was a terrible film, but because it was one of those films that just kind of existed. Directed by everyone's favorite Vulcan, Leonard Nimoy (sorry Kirstie Alley), the film told the story of two thieves hiding out in a Hutterite community in Alberta.

   The wannabe Bonnie and Clyde, played by Patricia Arquette (very much in her hotness prime) and Tate Donovan, steal a large sum of money from the carnival they both work at and have big plans to move to Hollywood. First, however, they have to lay low until the heat dies down. Fortunately, Donovan's character Peter is a former Hutterite so they decide to go back to his home - a small farming commune that is ruled by strict religious tradition.

   From the outset, Arquette's character Havana is looked down upon by the stodgy traditionalists. Whereas they are all modest, simple folk, she is a very modern material girl. Her midriff shirt and short shorts stand in stark contrast to their modest handmade dresses. She is definitely the proverbial fish out of water, and this is what a lot of the film's initial humor derives from.

   In order to stay, Peter has to convince the town elders that he and Havana are husband and wife. His uncle Wilhelm (Armin Mueller Stahl) is somewhat displeased with his nephew's choice in bride, but after a traditional Hutterite wedding ceremony the pair are welcomed into the community. Peter hides the money under a baseboard, and they try to live the Hutterite life, much to Havana's chagrin.

   She's not the only one who hates the new arrangement, though. Peter's little brother, Ezekiel, is happy his brother has returned home, but is distrustful of the girl from the outside world. He finds her immodesty challenging, and often faints in her presence. Joseph Gordon Levitt is very good in the role, and is quite amusing in his disdain for Havana.

   One day, after going into town for ice cream, Peter flips his car, throwing Ezekiel from the vehicle and killing Peter. Havana decides to take the money and run, but, alas, she doesn't know where Peter stashed it. Then, Wilhelm and the elders present her with one of their quirkier traditions.

  Apparently, when a Hutterite man dies and leaves a childless wife behind, tradition dictates that she must marry his brother. She can refuse to wed the twelve year old Ezekiel, but then she must leave the community (and the hidden money) behind. She agrees to the arrangement, and the film takes a turn for originality in concept.

   A lot of the fun in this film comes from that odd conceit. Not only is she a modern girl forced to be subservient to her husband, she is bride to a nervous child who hates her. Things really take a turn when Ezekiel finds the money and uses it to make her fall in line, before discovering it was stolen and choosing to return it to make amends for his brother's sin.

   All considered, this is a decent film that never really rises above being merely charming. It's the kind of movie that you find playing on a local affiliate on a Sunday afternoon.

   The best parts are the interactions between Arquette and Levitt. Their situation seems like it could have been mined for more laughs, but it pulls a lot of punches - especially for a film that marketed itself as a "sexy comedy".

   Other than that, it was nice to get a glimpse into a little seen and often misunderstood North American sub culture. A lot of people mix up the Hutterites, the Mennonites, and the more famous Amish. The big difference between the three seems to be the varying levels of modern technologies they dabble with. While the Amish shun almost all modern conveniences, the Hutterites use certain things like mechanical farm equipment while still living simply. I think the film could have used a few scenes of clarifying exposition to make these differences clearer to the average audience.

   The Hutterite setting also gives the movie one if it's big drawbacks in the Germanic accents that are prevalent in the film. While Levitt and Stahl maintain their accents effectively, others (especially Tate Donovan) seem to fall in and out of theirs. There are times when the thick accents are a bit hard to understand, and the Blu Ray has no subtitles to help out in catching what some characters are saying.
   The only other real issue I have with the film is how underdeveloped the subplot of the FBI agent tracking Peter and Havana is. We get one initial scene of him taking the case, and then he is completely absent until he comes to the community near the end of the film. Just one more scene of him figuring out they went there would have given his character a little more weight. As it stands, he feels like a stock 90's brash cop archetype.

   There's a bit near the end that kind of gets my goat, too. It involves some of the worst impromptu fake laughing I've ever seen from a group of cops. Trust me, you'll know it when you see it. It just comes off weird and reminds me of the end of JONNY QUEST episodes when everyone laughs at something Hadji says before going to credits.

   Overall, this movie is really only of interest to people wanting to see Levitt as a talented youngster, or wishing to see a bit of Hutterite culture. It's a cute little film, but it could have been better.

   The Blu Ray itself is very light on extras, by which I mean to say it has none at all. Just "Play Movie" and "Chapter Selection". A trailer, at least, would have been nice, but for five bucks I guess you can't always expect a lot.

   Anyone else remember this film? Did you find it charming and funny, or was it a waste of an hour and a half?

Previous "Blu Under Tens"
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
Blazing Saddles

Sep 24, 2012

Blu Ray and DVD Geek Picks for the Fourth week of September

  Hey, fellow cinephiles! Will here with a quick roundup of all the glorious Blu Rays and DVDs that tickle my fancy this week. It's a pretty big one for us geeks. I'm not sure my pocketbook can keep up.


   I know for most of you, this week is all about THE AVENGERS, but, for me, this is the big win for movie collectors tomorrow. I have had this preordered for months now, and I'm counting the hours until I can inundate my evenings with everyone's favorite gentleman spy.

   I've been a HUGE fan of James Bond since 1995, when I saw every film in a matter of months in preparation for his big return to the silver screen, GOLDENEYE. Since then, I've seen all of these films multiple times, and have bought them all on two different occasions. Hopefully, this will be the last time. Well, until the inevitable 3D set, or the holographic projector set, or the brainjack set, or whatever other kinds of formats the future brings us. For now, though, this is the most perfect collection of all 22 James Bond films - From DR. NO to QUANTUM OF SOLACE. Some may be confused by the lack of NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN, but I feel the need to remind them that that film was never part of the canon. Same for the David Niven version of CASINO ROYALE (which is, incidentally, available in its own glorious Blu edition).

   From what I've read, this set includes most of the special features from previous sets as well as some new stuff. The real star of the set though is the films themselves, all gloriously restored in high definition. I'm particularly curious how the Connery films look in the format. Same for ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE, which has always been one of my favorites.

   Of course, if there is one caveat, it's that I will have to buy SKYFALL when it hits Blu next year, and it will look a little lonely on the shelf next to its siblings all in one box. I have heard a rumor, though, that there is an empty slot for that film in the box, but we shall see.

   I got my copy on Amazon for $149.99, and it comes with a hardcover book featuring posters from the series. Christmas may be months away, but mine is coming this Tuesday.


    Now, for those of you immune to Mr. Bond's charms, this is the big title of the week. Even though I'm giving my money to the Bond box, I assure you I will be getting this next week. Personally, I'm going for the four disc set with the 3D disc.

   This movie seemed impossible years ago. It seemed unthinkable that anyone could manage to make a superhero film that took characters from different films and put them together as a team. Sure, it worked in the comics, but what works on the page doesn't always translate well to the screen. Our fears were unfounded, however, since Joss Whedon totally knocked this out of the park. It was big, explosive comic book fun and audiences rewarded it with tons of ticket sales.

   For me, and a lot of others, the highlight of this movie was Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk. The character had been done on film before, but never as successfully as in this film. I really liked the Ed Norton take on the character, so I was resistant to the switching of actors. Once seeing it all play out, though, I was very happy with how it all turned out.

   Overall, this movie was an excellent thrill ride kind of flick. As my boys get older, I'm sure this will get played a lot. We're still raising them DC, though. Speaking of which...


   One of the greatest Batman tales ever has been adapted into an animated feature. I love these animated DC flicks almost as much as I hate the new DC logo. My favorite so far has been ALL STAR SUPERMAN. My only problem with that tale, however, was how much of the comic story got excised to fit in the film's run time. I am hopeful that splitting Frank Miller's future based Batman story into two parts will allow for more of the story on the page to make it into the film. 


   I haven't seen a single frame of this, but I hear really good things. I'm typically anti-horror, but I like the idea of a horror tale getting a whole season to flesh itself out. Here's hoping this is one of the rare scare fests that breaks through my resistance to the genre.


   I've been a huge fan of Queen for as long as I can remember. That being said, I have heard very little about this doc. I do know that it focuses more on what Freddie was doing outside of Queen - solo projects and such. Looking very forward to giving this a spin. Hopefully, it paints a complete portrait of the greatest frontman to ever make love to a microphone stand. I do expect to be saddened near the end, though. Mercury's passing is up there with Lennon's assassination as far as music tragedy goes.


   I haven't seen this since I was very young, but I remember really liking it. As a kid who was never big on horror, I always enjoyed a movie that delivered soft scares and laughs. Movies like GREMLINS, or GHOSTBUSTERS. I also liked pretty much anything with the word Amblin on the poster, as it indicated involvement from Steven Spielberg. The main thing I remember about this film was that John Goodman played an exterminator and there were tons of spiders. The film has been on DVD for years, but is getting the Blu treatment for the first time this week.